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Penguin donates a further 29,000 books to local good causes

4 March 2021
penguin book donations start it right

As many an avid reader will know - on World Book Day of all days - reading can offer not only much needed escapism and stress relief but it also bolsters education for children, inspiring imagination, understanding of the world and more.


So we’re very proud to have worked with leading publisher Penguin Books UK to help them distribute almost 30,000 books to our network of good causes in the last few months alone - on top of the 32,000 they donated over the last year.


Over Christmas, Penguin ran an exciting new campaign ‘It Begins With A Book’. Partnering with new independent retailer Bookshop.org, they donated a book to a Neighbourly registered good cause for every book purchased on the lead up to the big day.



Through the campaign, over 14,000 books purchases were made, meaning 14,000 were donated and distributed across 23 local good causes.

Responding to lockdown

Penguin didn’t stop there however. Following the Christmas campaign and the devastating impact of the UK’s abrupt entry into a third national lockdown, the publisher donated a further 15,000 books to an additional 27 good causes, bringing the total number of book donations to 29,000 in just a few short months.


The books have enabled a whole range of good causes across the country to support those in their local community across all ages from children and young people to adults and older people in need.

penguin book donations

Learn to Love to Read, a charity that supports children with reading across the UK was another recipient of Penguin's book donations - and were able to distribute some of them to children at a number of local schools in the area such as Heathmere Primary School (pictured above). 


"The wonderful books we received from Penguin Kids will help inspire a love of reading"


One local school, Smallwood Primary, said on Twitter: "A huge thank you to Learn to Love to Read for our fabulous books donated and delivered yesterday. The children are so excited to pick up a new book and get reading."


Teresa Harris, Founder and Trustee at Learn to Love to Read added: “We’re working to close the word gap for toddlers and support primary age children who are finding learning to read challenging. 


“As well as early literacy classes, parent training and volunteer one-to-one support, we take every possible opportunity to increase children's access to exciting books. This may involve gifting books to encourage reading for pleasure at home, or offering additional resources to our partner schools. 


“A desire to read for pleasure is a major indicator that a child will develop reading fluency, comprehension and confidence, which in turn opens up access to ambitious life opportunities. The wonderful books we received from Penguin via Neighbourly will help inspire this love of reading.”


"The children are so excited to pick up a new book and get reading"


Start It Right CIC, a Croydon-based youth-led organisation received some of Penguin’s books last week, and were able to distribute them to schools in their local area.


They told us: “Start It Right CIC aims to provide exciting opportunities for young people to be more actively involved in their communities. We're delighted to be able to take part in the 'Penguin for Everyone' campaign via Neighbourly and share resource packs and Penguin's children's books to local young people who can make the most of them during these challenging times.”


To find out more about Penguin’s work with Neighbourly. Head to Penguin’s ‘Penguin for Everyone’ and ‘It Begins With A Book’ campaign pages


If you’re a business that’s looking to find out more about making product donations or surplus food donations, head to our ‘Surplus Products’ page. Or click the blue button below, followed by 'Business enquiries' to get in touch.

Neighbourly wins Edie Sustainability Leaders Award

4 February 2021
edie awards

Neighbourly was announced the winner of the Waste and Resource Management Project of the Year at the Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards this week, in recognition of the impact our Product Surplus programme has had across local communities by supporting people in need.


"Never has it been more important to find innovative ways to redistribute surplus food to those in need"


Judges at the awards commented: “Never has it been more important to find innovative ways to redistribute surplus food to those in need during Covid-19. Neighbourly’s Surplus Programme is a scalable and commercially viable approach to making this happen. That Neighbourly has saved 40 million meals from going to waste through this Programme is testament to the value of the approach.”

Sustainable Business

The awards brought together over 300 business leaders to celebrate some of the biggest achievements in sustainable business in the last year - showcasing just how integral it is for successful businesses to integrate both sustainability and social impact into the fabric of their purpose.


Neighbourly CEO Steve Butterworth says: "There’s never been a better time for businesses to lead the way when it comes to both sustainability and in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic across local communities. 


“We're incredibly proud to have been recognised amongst some of the most inspiring people and organisations who are making real and meaningful change happen. For our surplus food and product redistribution programme to have been awarded the Waste and Resource Management Project of the Year is testament not only to the hard work of our team, but to the support of our partners too." 


Along with the award win, Neighbourly was a finalist in one of the awards most competitive categories - the Social Sustainability and Community Development award.


To find out more about how we help businesses support local communities with food and product surplus, head to our Product Surplus page and get in touch to book a demo. You can also stay tuned to our latest news by following us on Twitter @nbrly or via Neighbourly’s LinkedIn page.

Aldi pledges to donate 10 million meals to families facing hunger

13 January 2021
hunger monster aldi 2

This week Aldi released an awareness raising animation, narrated by football star and child food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford, that for the first time personifies the devastating impact hunger can have on children.


The animation comes as part of Aldi’s commitment to donate 10 million meals in 2021 through the Neighbourly Foundation, to support families affected by food insecurity and hunger and combat its devastating effects.



In Aldi’s animation, the constant hunger a child can feel is represented by a Hunger Monster that never leaves the child’s side. Whether they are trying to sleep, play or learn, the monster is always there.


Currently this is the reality for one in every five children in the UK who struggle to access adequate nutrition, which can have a dramatic impact on their day-to-day life, affecting energy to be active and to concentrate on school work.

Rising child hunger

Our most recent survey of over 500 local good causes supporting children and families revealed that the problem of child hunger is only getting worse, with the impact of Covid-19 felt acutely across many local communities.

aldi hunger monster 1

Those that replied to the survey reported that the demand for food provision for families has increased by as much as 71% in the past six months. A staggering 96% of the children they are supporting are missing meals at least once a week, with 42% going without food three times a week and an upsetting 14% of children missing a meal every single day.


“2021 is a time to level the playing field once-and-for-all”


It’s clear that now is the time to act to make sure no child continues to suffer without adequate food and nutrition - with Aldi’s emotive campaign showing it is as much about raising awareness as it is about taking action.


Giles Hurley, Chief Executive Officer at Aldi UK and Ireland, said about the initiative: “At Aldi we’re making it our mission to fight against child food poverty as no child should ever go hungry. Not only are we pledging to donate 10 million meals throughout 2021 to families that need it, this campaign also aims to help raise awareness of the increasing number of families struggling to put food on the table.


“We were delighted for Marcus Rashford MBE to be the voice of the boy, which shows just what an important issue it is to us all.”


Marcus Rashford, added: “Reading the script for the Aldi animation I felt like I was talking about myself 10 years ago. This story is a reality for millions of children across the UK so, of course, I was happy to lend my voice. I'm proud to call Aldi a Founding Member of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce. Aldi has continued to take active steps to combat the issue of child food poverty and I would encourage everyone to get involved in their pledge to donate 10 million meals. 2021 is a time to level the playing field once-and-for-all."


Aldi’s 10 million meals pledge launches today. For more information visit the Aldi website or support the campaign by donating the cost of a meal via the Neighbourly Foundation.

New Central Government contracts must show Social Value

12 January 2021
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From the 1st January 2021, the government has introduced a new ‘Social Value’ procurement policy meaning all businesses awarded Central Government contracts must demonstrate that they can offer social value in the delivery of that contract.


This represents an exciting step forward, highlighting not only the importance of businesses' economic value for money but also their ability to support the communities in which they are based - social value.


At Neighbourly we’ve already seen the phenomenal impact businesses can have when building social value into their brand and purpose. By supporting local communities via our network of thousands of local good causes, businesses have already proven they can build in scalable and meaningful impact through the donation of surplus food and products, employee volunteering programmes and financial donation management.


We're therefore pleased to see some of these methods and approaches to social impact adopted and recognised as important and measurable factors for government’s future contract assessments and are looking forward to seeing what kind of effect this will have on local communities and wider business communities in the coming months and years.

Measuring social value

The new social value policy will account for 10% of the score awarded to applicants looking to secure central government contracts.


Social value will be assessed with an emphasis on qualitative evaluation to ensure ‘quality over quantity’ - allowing commercial teams to be able to select objectives that are relevant and proportionate to their procurement.


The Social Value policy has been broken down and modelled using key themes, objectives and outcomes that help describe ‘what good looks like’.


The key themes are as follows: 


  • Help local communities to manage and recover from the impact of COVID-19


  • Create new businesses, new jobs and new skills


  • Increase supply chain resilience and capacity


  • Effective stewardship of the environment 


  • Reduce the disability employment gap


  • Tackle workforce inequality


  • Improve health and wellbeing 


  • Improve community integration

The future for business

It’s never been more important for businesses to take responsibility for ensuring community focussed policies are intrinsic to their purpose - creating a more sustainable and fairer society for all.


Whilst the government’s social value procurement policy is only one part of the puzzle, it is an integral step forward to formally recognising the importance of businesses in supporting the needs of local communities - including a structure for what this might look like. It also represents a telling sign that the economy is moving closer to a model where all types of business, not just those looking to secure government contracts, will need to show social value as well as economic value.


As the new policy comes into play through 2021, we will be continuing to support businesses that are evolving to offer social value to local communities as well as sharing knowledge and insights from this latest government move.


To stay up-to-date, follow us on Twitter @nbrly or via the Neighbourly LinkedIn page.

Neighbourly Foundation launches to provide sustainable emergency support to local community causes

23 October 2020
neighbourly foundation

As the most vulnerable in our communities face ongoing hardship as the pandemic progresses, we’ve been preparing for ways we can offer continued support by launching the Neighbourly Foundation - a dedicated charitable arm of Neighbourly with a vision to provide a permanent means to respond to emergency need in our local communities. 


Partnering with us on the launch of the Foundation are Lidl, Aldi, Southern Co-op and M&S through its Sparks programme, all of whom made generous donations to the Neighbourly Community Fund at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This saw us distribute £1.2M in emergency funding to over 3,100 local causes who have been keeping people fed, connected and cared for during the toughest of times.

We’re proud to partner with businesses like these, which are recognising the need to support local communities and fight for the causes that keep our most vulnerable healthy, happy and safe.


For many good causes, the future continues to look increasingly uncertain. With government grants accessed by just 36% of charities and demand for support continuing to skyrocket, we recognise that there’s a need for instant financial grants to support the grassroots organisations that increasing numbers people rely on.


With real-time data coming through from our 15,000 strong community of causes, along with a newly designed grant-making feature built directly into the platform, launching the Neighbourly Foundation puts us in a unique position to be able to respond quickly to emergency need at a hyper-local level.

Community Fund Impact

The Community Fund has proved that quickly deployed micro-grants can make all the difference when it comes to keeping communities afloat - with the response from recipients showing just how essential a longer term solution to future emergencies is. 


“Micro-grants like this really make a big difference”


Recipients of the Community Fund grants estimated that the money helped them support around 340 people on average - over 1 million people in total - all the while facing an unprecedented rise in demand and uncertain future. 


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Where some other forms of support were slower to reach small charities and community causes, particularly during the first few months of the pandemic, the Neighbourly Community Fund acted as a stop-gap, enabling causes to provide for the most vulnerable and marginalised residents, ensuring that no one was left behind.


One of the recipients of the Neighbourly Community Fund was Jo Critch of women’s charity Feathers Futures in Great Yarmouth, who said: “Neighbourly’s was the quickest grant to come through and was vital in enabling us to respond quickly to our increased demand. It may not seem like much money, but micro-grants like this really make a big difference.” 


For the majority (61%) of causes in receipt of the community fund grant, purchasing food to make up emergency food parcels was a top priority. In addition, two in every five causes used some of the funds to purchase basic essentials (such as toiletries for care packages), with one fifth using some of the money to pay for PPE.


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As well as reducing the level of financial vulnerability charities experienced when faced with emergencies like the Covid-19 pandemic, it has highlighted their importance in being able to adapt to the needs of local people.


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The fund touched all ages, genders and ethnicities across the country, with charities able to deliver a range of different support mechanisms, tailored to their unique communities.


With many struggling with stress and loneliness during the nationwide lockdown, the funding allowed 69% of causes to provide comfort to isolated people and 68% to support people with their mental health.


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The fund also allowed a large percentage of causes to help people directly in their homes, reach new people in need, help people feel more connected to others, look after people’s physical health and to deliver a speedy emergency response - such as hot meal delivery for the elderly and homeless, food parcels for families in need and provision of activities and tech to allow people to communicate with others.

Future impact 

Here at Neighbourly, we see the incredible impact causes can have on local communities on a day-to-day basis, and are continually amazed at just how much they can do on shoestring budgets, leaving no-one behind. So it’s so important that we remain committed to supporting them through the toughest of times. 


Commenting on the new partnership. Carmel McQuaid, Head of Sustainable Business at M&S, told us: “At M&S, we’re proud of the role we play in the communities we serve, from our store colleagues delivering for customers to the charitable causes we support.


"Our partnership with Neighbourly enables us to give back to our local communities with ongoing surplus food donations and our recent contribution to help the organisations that need it most. But we know our customers want to do their bit for local causes too, so we’re make it easier through our Sparks charity programme. With over 6,300 customers selecting the Neighbourly Foundation as their chosen charity, we can continue making a difference every time they shop with us.”


Holly Bramble, Southern Co-op's Community and Campaign Coordinator, added: "Our commitment to support our local communities is incredibly important to us and it's more essential than ever that our funding goes to those who need it the most. Neighbourly enables us to do this. There are pockets of poverty in a number of areas where we have colleagues working in retail stores, funeral care and coffee branches.


"By working together with local causes, Neighbourly and its Foundation, we can help reduce the strain faced by so many families." 


The Foundation has been established to ensure that good causes aren’t hamstrung by a lack of resources when their help is needed more than ever. This is why we and our partners are urging other organisations to support the Foundation in providing the essential funds charities need on the ground, to keep our communities afloat.


Neighbourly CEO listed as top 100 Meaningful Business Leader for 2020

20 October 2020
meaningful business 100

Here at Neighbourly, our focus is on helping businesses to make real and meaningful contributions to their local communities - with the ultimate goal of creating a greener, fairer and more sustainable future.


So we’re honored to announce that Neighbourly CEO Steve Butterworth has been included in this year’s Meaningful Business 100 list for 2020 - a global platform for leaders combining profit and purpose.


“Meaningful leadership is about bringing people together who are passionate about making a difference.”


The Meaningful Business list is devoted to creating a unified platform for leaders around the globe to collaborate and share knowledge in order to amplify their social impact in support of the UN 2030 agenda. This includes the 17 sustainable development goals that gear us toward a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.


MB100 was curated by an expert panel of 16 judges, following a global nomination process. The platform received over 500 nominations from 70 countries, with each one scored across 5 key areas: Impact, Leadership, Innovation, Durability and Scope. 


The 100 business leaders include corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs, micro-entrepreneurs, sustainability leaders, functional heads and impact investors from 34 countries. Industries that dominate the list include agriculture, education, healthcare and technology.


Steve’s inclusion in the list further demonstrates Neighbourly’s collective commitment to helping businesses become a force for good, strengthening community ties and allowing no one to get left behind.


Commenting on the accolade, Steve adds: “For me, meaningful leadership is not about one single person fighting for what they believe in, it’s about bringing together multiple voices and people with experience at all levels who are passionate about making a difference.


“I’m incredibly proud of the Neighbourly team and all the work they do to grow the platform. With each working day we are adding to our 15,000 strong community of local good causes supported by an increasing number of businesses that see the amazing worth that comes with supporting their communities and valuing purpose over profit.”


Neighbourly joins 50 major signatories in support of Universal Credit increase

30 September 2020
keep the lifeline universal credit increase

In April this year, the government announced that there would be a temporary increase of £20 a week for those in receipt of Universal Credit - an absolute lifeline for those on already low incomes for whom the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic could have otherwise left them unable to feed their families. 

But with no real commitment from the Government to keep this £20 uplift beyond April 2021, many are concerned that the drop in income could force hundreds of thousands of people into poverty overnight. 

“16 million people will be in households facing an overnight income loss equivalent to £1,040 a year”

That is why we, along with 50 other organisations including Citizens Advice, Lloyds Bank Foundation and The Trussell Trust, have signed a joint letter to call on the Chancellor to make the £20 a week increase to Universal Credit permanent and extend the same support to those on legacy benefits.

Together, the coalition wrote:

We welcomed the swift action you took at the start of the pandemic to implement this much needed investment. Falling incomes and rising costs throughout the pandemic have put families under immense financial pressure, but the £20 uplift has been a lifeline that has enabled many of them to keep their heads above water and has stopped us seeing a marked surge in poverty levels.

However, if the uplift ends in April 2021, this good work risks being undermined. Modelling by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation indicates that around 16 million people will be in households facing an overnight income loss equivalent to £1,040 a year, with those on the lowest incomes and families with children being hardest hit. 

At a stroke, 700,000 more people will be pulled into poverty, including 300,000 children, and 500,000 more of those already in poverty will be plunged into deep poverty (more than 50% below the poverty line). We are therefore urging you to make the uplift permanent and stop families being cut adrift whilst they need help to stay afloat.

Keep the Lifeline

The letter was sent following the Chancellor’s statement last week in which he outlined his Winter Economy Plan and acknowledged that many families will see job losses over the coming months. Even those whose jobs are protected through the Job Support Scheme will see income cuts. Despite this, there was no commitment to keeping this temporary Universal Credit uplift beyond April.

Here at Neighbourly, we’ve heard from hundreds of small charities and community groups who this year have seen steep increases in demand for support, including emergency food parcels for children and families. 

As more people face risks to their livelihoods, our social security system will have a key role in protecting families from poverty and in enabling people to grasp new opportunities as they become available.

Support for legacy claimants

The letter also emphasises the importance of extending this lifeline to claimants of legacy benefits who are currently excluded from the additional £20 a week of support.

Further, it is simply not right that those on legacy benefits, who are mostly sick or disabled people and carers, and so have been most at risk during this pandemic, have not been thrown an equivalent lifeline. We urge you to follow the advice of the Social Security Advisory Committee and support 1.5 million more people by applying an equivalent uplift to those on legacy benefits who have so far been excluded from increases.

“It’s only right to prioritise those hardest hit"

Commenting on the publication of the letter, Helen Barnard, Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who coordinated the letter, said: “Today’s letter shows the overwhelming support that exists for this lifeline which is playing a critical role in helping many families keep their heads above water in extremely turbulent times. Building on existing cross-party support in Parliament, we are coming together to urge ministers not to cut social security at precisely the moment our country needs it most.

“It’s only right to prioritise those hardest hit, pulling families worst affected by the pandemic back from the brink. We are united in calling on the Chancellor to keep doing the right thing by making the uplift to Universal Credit permanent and extending it to those claiming legacy benefits.”

See the full letter and list of signatories on the Joseph Rowntree Website and support the campaign via the Twitter hashtag #KeepTheLifeline.

New research highlights critical need to tackle food insecurity and holiday hunger

16 July 2020
food insecurity house of lords supermarket

The House of Lords Select Committee on Food, Poverty, Health and the Environment has released a report calling for the introduction of new policies to support the health and wellbeing of all through fair access to healthy food.


With their evidence coming from a wide range of expert sources, including some of Neighbourly’s own community research and feedback from thousands of charities using the platform, it’s no surprise that the report’s emphasis on spiralling rates of food insecurity across the UK are well in line with what community groups, schools and food banks have been telling us. 


As summarised in the report: “Significant numbers of people are unable to access the food they need, let alone access a healthy diet.”

The bigger picture

Estimations made by the UN suggests around 2.2 million people in the UK are severely food insecure. But with many millions more forced to choose between nutritious meals and paying their bills, the situation is likely much worse.


In our latest community survey carried out in June, charities told us that they’d seen the number of people seeking support since March more than double. With so many of the small charities we surveyed providing some sort of food relief during lockdown, the predictions quickly become alarming.


Yet without any UK-wide figures collected on those affected - and the causes - we’re left with the growing queues outside food banks as one of our only indicators of the need for change.


Whilst we can see that there is a huge problem, our government currently lacks the in-depth knowledge of the root causes which can inform the most efficient and considerate ways for the problem to be tackled.

Key recommendations

When looking specifically at food insecurity, the report’s key recommendations are:


  • To introduce detailed, routine and fully transparent monitoring of food insecurity in the UK - the findings of which can be used to inform socio-economic reforms in policy


  • Address problems around Universal Credit, particularly around the 5 week wait which, for many families, means they are left without enough money for food


  • To re-evaluate the affordability of Public Health England’s Eat Well Guide and factor its cost into welfare and benefit reform to ensure a healthy diet is affordable for all


  • Improve access to healthy food for school age children by reforming and expanding existing schemes - including Healthy Start vouchers, free school meals and holiday hunger programmes

Food to grow

house of lords holiday hunger

With school holidays now upon us, one of the most pressing on this list of recommendations is holiday hunger.


Although the government has now pledged to extend the free school meal vouchers introduced during lockdown to cover the summer, evidence from food banks suggests the current system is not enough.


Results from our survey suggest that at least 40% of Neighbourly causes are involved in holiday hunger programmes and that they are helping an average of 85 children per organisation every week during the school holidays.


Even if these suggested changes in policy are taken forward, they are unlikely to have an impact quickly enough for the millions of children in the UK who are living below the poverty line right now.

Supporting charities with better policies

Whilst charities are bearing the burden of the nation’s food crisis, providing support to them in the form of funding is integral to ensuring the country’s most vulnerable children are nourished with healthy food to carry them through the long summer break.  


Funds such as the Neighbourly Community Fund, which supports smaller grassroots charities, food banks and holiday hunger programmes, is one of the funds that has been helping to keep these local lifelines running. Seeing large corporate businesses invest in the needs of their local communities through donations to these funds has been a hugely positive shift that’s been all the more prominent during the pandemic.


As we begin to work together with more community-focused momentum, we need more socially minded businesses like these offering continued hope to the small charities which collectively make a huge impact.


Time will tell if new policies can start to tackle the issue of food insecurity in the UK. We look forward to a time when charities no longer need to be welfare firefighters, instead diverting their attention - and funds - to the things that matter the most to them and their local communities.

We Stand With You

10 June 2020
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We entered this week as a proud Bristolian business – the removal of the statue of Edward Colston during the Black Lives Matter protests, whether you agree with it or not, has opened the door further for the uncomfortable conversations we need to have, which are reverberating around the world and have finally reached our UK parliament. Racism is systemic in our society – it’s conscious and unconscious and goes unchecked as we sleepwalk through our lives.

Rarely has there been an occasion when Ben & Jerry's and Banksy have been singing from the same song sheet, such is the urgency of the debate that we need to have, calling for an end to “white supremacy” - not self-conscious racism but the political, economic and cultural system in which white people overwhelmingly control power and material resources - and that “people of colour are being failed by the system – the white system”.

The words they use are strong, powerful, uncomfortable and deliberate. The atrocious death of George Floyd is yet one more lost life to add to the list of countless others who have died at the hands of police brutality, disadvantaged by an unequal society, living in underfunded communities and fighting for survival on a daily basis. White privilege is a real thing that has existed for as long as we can remember. It is the responsibility of all white people to acknowledge and consciously reflect on the wrongs that have gone before. 

The Covid-19 crisis has sadly amplified the situation further by highlighting the undeniable fact that this social disparity has meant the virus has killed more people from BAME communities than others, so not only is the ‘conversation’ urgent, but action needed is too.

These events underpin the importance of how the Neighbourly platform operates, providing micro-grants, surplus food and volunteers to causes supporting those hardest hit in our communities. We commit to ensuring that beneficiary charities working hard to support minority groups or striving for their equality and representation are heard, now and in the future. We will use this moment to call to action businesses and individuals alike to maintain their support for these grassroots organisations that have made a critical difference to BAME communities, not just over the last 12 weeks of the pandemic but for as long as they have existed.

Right here, right now, as our normal everyday lives have been put on hold and our habits have been broken by the Coronavirus crisis, it creates the moment to catalyse change in our local communities around the globe. But change starts with “I” as well as “we”. Personal responsibility, personal commitment and personal accountability. No more sleepwalking or ignorance. No more apathy.

We must “build back better”, celebrate historical moments that reflect progress, which remind our communities and our Government how we must change, that inequality is not acceptable and make a personal commitment to "be the change we want to see in the world".



Leaders call on Prime Minister to create socially just and green recovery from Covid-19

9 June 2020
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A letter sent to the Prime Minister on Tuesday 9th June, signed by Neighbourly CEO Steve Butterworth along with more than 100 renowned individuals, companies, charities, universities, and trade associations has called on the UK Government to ensure the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the heart of UK Covid-19 recovery plans. 

The letter references a statement made by the Prime Minister at the Financing for Development event on 28 May where he called for "fairer, greener and more resilient global economy" after Covid-19. He said that we must ‘work together to get shared goals back on track including [...] the Sustainable Development Goals’.

The letter supports this and states ‘we do not need to reinvent frameworks or agreements, we can instead use the global goals as the basis for a socially just and green recovery in the UK and abroad’.

Early evidence from the Business and Sustainable Development Commission showed that if implemented the SDGs create at least US$12tn in business opportunities in just 60 market hotspots and estimates this could be 2-3 times bigger across the whole economy.  

The letter has been coordinated by the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) and the United Nations Global Compact Network UK (GCN UK).

Signatories, along side Neighbourly, include: the leaders of Leonard Cheshire, Natwest Group, Nestle UK & Ireland, Linklaters, Clifford Chance, The Body Shop, SSE, HSBC, Standard Life Aberdeen, Mott MacDonald and Unilever; filmmaker Richard Curtis; the Mayor of Bristol; Chairman of the Local Government Association and Dr Mya-Rose Craig (aka Birdgirl).

The letter states that the ‘SDGs provide an internationally agreed framework, which also works at national, regional and local level, alongside and reinforcing existing plans and commitments.’

It asks that the SDGs be used ‘used to consolidate and future-proof [recovery] plans’ and goes on to recommend that they are used to:

  1. Prioritise the most vulnerable in our society and level-up regional and societal inequalities
  2. Build coherent policies for a healthy planet and to aid the transition to net zero
  3. Unite all sectors behind a plan to build a stronger and more resilient economy

The SDGs are part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and give a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”. There are 17 Goals at its centre, encompassing climate action, education and health.

Unfortunately, the UKSSD Measuring Up report, found gaps in policy or inadequate performance for 57% of targets, and 15% where there is little to no policy in place to address it, or where performance is poor. It anticipates that this situation will be worsened by the societal and economic impacts of Covid-19. 

Richard Curtis, UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, film writer, director and co-founder of Project Everyone has said:

“The COVID crisis has shown more than ever that we must work together to secure a better future. The Global Goals are a powerful tool to help us do this; they provide a common vision and a practical blueprint for collaboration. The breadth of support for this letter demonstrates a commitment to working with the UK government to deliver healthy lives, healthy societies and a healthy planet for everyone. We can only build back better together and I hope that the Government will use the Goals to help them do this”


Read the letter in full here.